HPV Vaccination

What is HPV Vaccination?

HPV vaccination, also known as human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in Singapore, helps to prevent an infection of HPV. HPV comprises hundreds of different stains and are grouped into high-risk strains and low-risk strains.
  • High-risk strains: responsible for cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer in females and anal or penile cancer in males.
  • Low-risk strains: do not cause cancer but are responsible for genital warts and may infect other parts of the body such as the fingers, hands, mouth, face, and throat.
The HPV vaccine not only protects against a HPV infection but also helps to reduce the prevalence of HPV in the general population, thereby protecting individuals who are unable to be vaccinated against the virus.
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How does HPV Vaccination work?

The HPV vaccine does not contain any genetic material of the human papillomavirus, instead, the HPV vaccine is produced using a protein that is present on the surface of the virus. Once the protein is grown, it will resemble the appearance of the virus, therefore, when the vaccine is introduced into the body, the body will create antibodies in response to it.
If you get exposed to the virus after being vaccinated, your body will remember the appearance of the virus (due to the vaccine), and create additional antibodies which bind to the surface of the human papillomavirus, preventing it from infecting any cells.
In Singapore, there are two types of HPV vaccines, these are:
  • Cervavix or HPV 2: provides protection against HPV types 16 and 18 which are responsible for 70% of all cervical cancers.
  • Gardasil or HPV 9: provides protection against 9 HPV strains which are responsible for 90% of all cervical cancers.

Common benefits of HPV Vaccination in Singapore

  • Prevents cancer
  • Prevents genital warts
  • Long-term protection
  • Non-invasive
  • Safe and effective

What conditions can HPV Vaccination prevent?

HPV vaccination can be used to prevent the following conditions:
  • Cancer: the HPV vaccine protects against HPV strains that are responsible for cervical, vaginal, vulva, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal (throat) cancer.
  • Genital warts: the HPV vaccine protects against HPV strains that are responsible for most types of genital warts.

What can I expect after HPV Vaccination in Singapore?

You can expect long-term protection against the human papillomavirus and hence enhanced protection against cervical, vaginal, vulva, and oropharyngeal cancer. However, although you experience protection against the virus, this protection is not 100% and there are other sexually transmitted infections out there, therefore, precautions such as barrier contraceptives should be used.
After the vaccination, you may experience the following:
  • Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
These side effects should subside in a few days.
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How many treatment sessions are needed?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore developed the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) and the National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS), which recommend that all females from the age of 9 should receive the HPV vaccination.
Depending on the vaccine chosen, multiple doses are required.
Cervavix or HPV 2
  • Below the age of 15: two doses, 5-13 months apart.
  • Above the age of 15: three doses, with the second dose 1 to 2.5 months after the first dose. Third dose should be given 5 to 12 months after the first dose.
Gardasil or HPV 9
  • Below the age of 15: two doses, 6 months apart.
  • Above the age of 15: three doses, with the second dose 2 months after the first dose. Third dose should be given 6 months after the first dose.

Frequently asked questions

Is the HPV vaccine safe?
Besides some mild side effects that some individuals might feel, the HPV vaccine is very safe and effective in providing long-term protection against the human papillomavirus.
What are the contraindications of the HPV vaccine?
Pregnant women should wait until after delivery to get the HPV vaccine. Individuals with allergies to yeast or other vaccine components are not suitable for the HPV vaccination. Additionally, individuals who are currently ill or having a fever, should refrain from getting the HPV vaccine until they are fully recovered.

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